How UV Lights Can Fight MRSA


Remember MRSA? A few years ago, a health scare surrounding the drug-resistant strain of staph swept through the nation. While the public moved on, scientists did not and now a research team from Columbia University has discovered that a narrow ultraviolet wavelength, 207 nanometers, can kill the strain in mice. If effective in treating people, it can lower both medical costs and the chance of catching a surgical site infection.

For years, scientists have been aware that UV light can kill bacteria, whether it’s a superbug, a drug-resistant strain or an everyday type. In the past, however, using UV rays for treatments was not always an option because it damaged exposed skin and also put medical staff in danger of injuries. What makes this new discovery so exciting is that it’s not only the first wavelength found to kill MRSA bacteria, it also does not harm skin.

“Our new findings show that far-UVC light has enormous potential for combating the deadly and costly scourge of drug-resistant surgical site infections,” said David Brenner, PhD, senior author of the paper.

The discovery will also help fight against surgical site infections (SSI). These are estimated to add anywhere from $3 billion to $10 billion in healthcare costs across the U.S. annually. Additionally, patients with SSI see their mortality rate double compared to those without it. Scientists aim to tackle SSI problems next. “One of our next steps is to explore direct studies in surgical settings, in larger animals and humans. From there we can investigate other new applications of these exciting findings, like killing airborne bacteria and viruses such as TB and influenza,” David Brenner went on to say.

While this is great news, scientists must be careful to make sure that their lights are shining at the correct wavelength, or else risk damaging test subjects. Konica Minolta Sensing offers products that can measure UV lights, such as the CAS 140CT and the CAS 120 CCD Array Sprectrophotometers, both of which can measure the 207 nanometer UV wavelength when used in conjunction with the EOP Optical Probe. Give shape to medical ideas with Konica Minolta Sensing.

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